We used to be friends - Macleans.ca

We used to be friends

International poll finds Canada’s global reputation in decline


An international poll done for the BBC World Service suggests Canada’s global reputation has taken a hit over the past year. The decline was sharpest in China, where 54 per cent of respondents said Canada’s influence in the world was “mainly positive”—a 21-point drop from 2009. Americans and the British also showed less goodwill towards Canada than they have in years past. In the U.S., the proportion of those with a positive view of Canada fell by 15 points to 67 per cent, while in Britain it dropped 12 points to 62 per cent. Pollster Doug Miller of Globescan, the firm behind the international survey, blamed the negative coverage of Canada’s climate change efforts for some of the decline.

CBC News

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We used to be friends

  1. Another hit for the Harper government.

    • Yup. People don't much like it when you refuse to be a fellow lemming. I for one am proud we didn't blindly sign Kyoto2, as the Libs would have done.

  2. Canada's Back!

    • As soon as I saw the headline, I wondered how many comments down I’d have to read before someone said it.

      • Glad to have saved you some trouble. ;)

  3. The UK are having more problems, because people there are simply not believing AGW. I don't rely on this poll, if the US likes or hates us doesn't matter to me. If there is no news, leave to a pollster to make a mountain out of a very small molehill.

  4. I believe that it is more than Canada's poor record on implementing nothing to deal with climate change. Harper does nothing to improve Canada's reputation abroad. He waited a very long time before visiting China and that damaged our reputation. He speaks out about China's human rights but treats non white Muslim Canadians stuck abroad very poorly. He plays with our democracy to avoid accountability by using prorogation improperly. The world is watching and sees us slipping with Harper as PM.

    • Yes, given that the largest drop in support came in China, it is clear that the Chinese people were concerned about Canada's poor record on global warming and human rights relative to their own. The second largest decline was in the US, a country known for its high standards of environmentalism, and its sensitivity to the treatment of Muslims (most Americans don't think the detainees at Gitmo should have a trial).

    • Oh boo hoo China doesn't like us much. Let's not offend China-we know what happens to folks who don't suck up like Chretien (see Tibet). And don't forget to flail your arms with concern about the Muslim "Canadians" who dig out their passport when they need health care or rescue from some war this country has nothing to do with. I guess you'd feel better if more white guys had the snot beaten out of them like Sampson was in Saudi Arabia-courtesy of the Libs soft power. Personally I prefer a PM who puts Canada first and popularity contests second.

  5. Meh, who cares. It's the rest of the world that's got it wrong.

  6. This so unfair. Canada is only responsible for a fraction of the world's GHG's. China, the US and the EU are the big offenders. Canada is being made a scapegoat to take the heat off of them.

    Even if Canada eliminated 100% of it's GHG's it wouldn't make any difference.

    China, the US and the EU are the ones who have to do the cutting. Just check the facts.

  7. Bet this won't stop Harper & Co. from hectoring every captive international audience they can on their amazing problem-solving skills tho.

  8. So maybe this has to do with our Environmental Inaction Plan… but there is an alternate explanation. If we group all the countries to which PM Harper has made either multiple visits or an extended visit we have taken a cumulative hit of -82. (ugh) However, if you group the counties, Harper has either not visited or just popped in for a photo-op then we are actually +8 to the good! (Feel free to draw your own conclusions)

    • I actually agree with a version of that interpretation. People like Canada more the less they know about our actual record. Foreign visits highlight Canada-____ issues, and create acrimony. China is a case in point. Harper rankled Hu Jintao a while ago, but it was his visit (ironically aimed at mending a supposed breach) that gave Chinese newspapers any opportunity at all to print stories about Canada.

  9. I shudder to think of how bad it would be if it were an Ignatieff government.

    • Same here

    • Better than it would be if it were a Harper majority.

  10. everything that Canada has been recognized and admired for internationally, Harper hates.

    Welfare state? Soft power/peacekeepers? Gay Marriage? Safe Injection site in Vancouver? The Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

    • You forgot nanny state

    • So let me get your argument straight. People abroad loved Canada because we legalized gay marriage, even though almost no other countries have done so themselves (because it is not a popular position in most countries). People abroad also loved Canada because we had an experimental program to allow drug-users to shoot up, but foreigners generally haven't demanded their governments implement such policies. People abroad love Canada because we have a welfare state (actually government as a % of GDP is lower in Canada than in the US), something every single developed country has. They also love us because we have a bill of rights – something almost every country has in some form.

      Such impeccable logic.

  11. Climate change is a farce, if you were a fly on the wall when Vancouver got the winter olympics the conversation probably went something like this "You know if we give the olympics to Vancouver there is a really good chance some events might get rained out.Not because of global warming or I mean climate change but because it just rains a lot there.99% of the world thinks that Canada turns into a Giant igloo in the winter and they will think the world is coming to an end, call their governments telling them to hurry up and get voting for the global carbon tax scam er sorry I slipped again.Then we can call our banker buddies and make millions off of those carbon credit things. Ok I vote for Vancouver. "

  12. Canadians will wring their hands over this, but it really is a truly irrelevant poll. I deal with graduate students and professors from other countries (namely the US, but lots of international students) on a regular basis. Canada's environmental record, prorogation or the fact that we give a lot less in foreign aid than people think is generally news to foreigners. If there is one issue that gets any attention it is the seal hunt, but those concerns are easily allayed by pointing out that the seals aren't endangered.

    Ironically Harper's visit to China may have been the only one of the declines that is not the result of polling noise (imagine if you were polled on your opinion of Australia – some far-off medium sized developed country – on a year to year basis there would probably be a lot of variation). The main impact of that trip was to highlight that he hadn't visited for a long time, and that he said some things the Chinese didn't like. If he hadn't visited the profile of those issues would have remained low.

    Of course the real issue is that Canada's reputation doesn't matter. There is no such thing as soft power. Zero. Canada's reputation has never gotten us anything of tangible value. Many countries like us largely because we are a small enough country that our interests rarely come into conflict with those of other countries. What price does China pay for being an authoritarian eco-wasteland? None, because people want cheap manufactured goods. Similarly, people will buy our oil, timber, iron ore, commuter jets and auto parts whether they like us or not.

  13. BS America, China, and the EU have taken no steps to fixing climate change and they all blame us. Let them hate us who cares

  14. My explanation:
    1. China – result of Harper's visit increasing the profile of Harper's past criticism of China
    2. USA – result of increased negative mention of Canada's healthcare system during the healthcare reform debate
    3. Canada – result of declining popularity of Harper government
    4. Everywhere else – random noise plus a small recession-related decrease in fondness for foreigners (it makes no sense, for instance that Canada's reputation would rise in Germany, stay the same in France and fall in the UK).

  15. It embarrassing how much we care.I believe most are very jealous of Canada.Having watched Mercer talk to Americans, they know squat about us.

  16. Harper`s blind one sided support for Israel , his climate denial , and his mini Bush platitudes are a grave departure from Canada`s historic reputation of looking before shooting. I cringe at the thought of this dictator obtaining a majority. He could do to Canada what Bush did to the U.S.